By on June 2, 2009

The Alterman era is upon us.

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45 Comments on “Car and Driver Shocker! Subaru Impreza WRX Key Fob Beats BMW M3’s!...”


  • avatar
    ZCline

    I guess this is a great way to not piss off the advertisers they so desperately need.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    But which fob can survive a cycle in the washer and still work?

  • avatar
    apt34

    @ Richard: Most can survive… the secret is to immediately take out the batteries and allow the whole thing to air dry for at least several days before trying it again.

    To be honest, I like the quality and feel of BMW’s higher end (as in, separate keyfob – not the one attached to the key, although there’s nothing wrong with those, either) keyfobs. Of course, Rolls Royce uses the same keyfob as well, just with some different buttons and logos.

  • avatar
    Shogun

    lol@battery replacement cost for Dodge Ram.

  • avatar
    AlexD

    I dropped my VW fob in the toilet at work yesterday. Luckily the toilet had flushed prior to it falling out of my pocket.
    Thing is, we’ve got those stupid auto-flush systems, so I dropped to the floor like incoming gunfire so as not to trigger another flush while I reached frantically for the key.
    At least the fob worked perfectly 10 minutes later – I even scrubbed it with soap and water right after. Maybe I’ll toss it in the wash machine now that you mention it.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I would be very happy to go back to simple keys. They fit on a keychain easily and don’t cost a fortune to replace.

    How did we become so obsessed with rather meaningless conveniences?

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    who pays $100+ for a key fob?? There are tons on ebay for wayyy less plus instructions to program them yourself.

  • avatar
    cnyguy

    In the same issue, it is sad to note that DED, Jr is back as a columnist. It’s over, Car and Driver.

  • avatar
    Lee

    Who cares

  • avatar
    niky

    Who the hell pays 140 bucks for a battery?

    Note that the Subaru fob only does the trunk release, while the M3 fob does the windows and recharges on the dash.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    im so into starting the caddy from the bedroom

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Lol, a colleague used to be able to remote-start and warm up his car from the 8th floor window if his car was parked on the 2nd floor on the neighboring parking deck (probably 80 yards away).

    Yeah, he intentionally burned a gallon of gas to make sure he didn’t have to sit in a cold car in a Michigan winter. America is awesome.

    The moment you drive a car with keyless go – you won’t want to go back. Same thing with women and cars with heated seats or men with cooled/ventilated seats.

  • avatar
    Slare

    When did Chrysler start using fission batteries?

  • avatar
    Kman

    Big LOL@AlexD, especially the “dropping to the ground like there’s incoming gunfire”!

    I’m still wondering if / hoping that the Dodge Ram battery cost is a misprint… can’t be $140!!!

    Oh, and while we’re at it, apt34‘s advice also applies to any electronics you have that get wet. Dropped water on your laptop? Most people unfortunately quickly turn it on to see if they’ve cause any damage.

    Thereby causing damage. Any electronic equipement: remove any and all electrical current, plug, battery, solar panel, hydrogen fuel cell… and let dry for at least a day (or two).

  • avatar
    Kman

    Oh, one more thing that the BMW key fob does: on convertible models… yes, indeed.

    All windows and the top down.

    And they go even further on the 3-series hard-top cabriolet. I don’t know how this got past the liability lawyers, but the fob will also close the roof remotely! I did find that kinda awesome.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    no ‘got to have it’ score?

  • avatar
    sutski

    And by using the classic (Clarkson) “touch your chin with the keyfob” trick, you can increase the distance by a good 20ft !!

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    sutski,

    I have more then doubled the range on my keyfob’s using the chin technique. On an aftermarket remote starter, I had easily 1,500+ feet through an office window.

  • avatar
    crackers

    My complaint with may of these key fobs is how easy they are to accidentally set off alarms or open doors while the fob is in your pocket. My home office is near the driveway and at least once a week my Honda car alarm would go off while I was sitting at my computer. One day the boys arrived at the house at 4:30 am on a Saturday to go fishing. while loading the car, the alarm goes off – I was really popular with the neighbours that day.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    The sore point with my 2005 STi is NO TRUNK RELEASE.

    The closest I can get not using the key is keyless entry on the drivers side and then reaching down and pulling the trunk release switch.

    BOO

  • avatar
    thalter

    Sorry Pot, Kettle here and I call black.

    This is the very same site that asks its readers to debate such minutia the best HVAC controls and trunk hinge designs.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    It doesn’t surprise me that the ‘elitist brands/models’ soak their customers wallets. Compare any fob’s price and functions to cell phones and PDA devices. This is a ripoff. (Hello Obama, are you listening?)

    Key fobs should be $50, maximum, total (battery & programming). You can buy generic car alarms and starters for $50 and up with TWO fobs; I did, and it lasted 15+ years.

    That having been said, I wonder how the basic GM, Ford, and Chrysler fobs would rank in this table.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Um, the Dodge Ram is elitist? Well, it does have the most expensive battery replacement cost!

  • avatar
    NickR

    Keys please. Thanks.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Those guys really need to find something else for motivation to masturbate their minds…

    They didn’t do an instrumented test?

  • avatar
    Ronman

    Was just testing a brand new Murano, and i left the key fob with a friend and drove about a kilometer away and not wanting to walk back i drove back to the location of the Fob. if your bedroom where you keep the key is right over the street, anyone can climb into the car, turn it on, and drive it on a transporter and just sell in parts….no need to turn it on ever again.

    although they are practical Key less entry and start has some major disadvantages.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i think it’s been a long time since key fobs are like $50

    even 15 years ago i bought a keyfob for a common japanese car and it was $50… guy came out to the car park and programmed it for free

    just two buttons (central locking and trunk lid) – the fob was just two plastic halves that snapped together and a simple circuit board and a coin battery

    these days even Kia offers an Audi style flick knife key with multiple buttons and ‘panic’ features you must realise that the era of the ‘simple’ car is over

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    thalter

    The beef isn’t that they did a key FOB comparison, it’s that a BMW actually lost a Car and Driver comparo. C&D loves them some BMW, and this is a huge surprise.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    My GM remote is pretty damn awesome. It’s got a fairly long range, (never have had a yard stick handy to measure the range, though. sorry.) is very durable, and its rounded shape is comfortable in a front pocket. Not to mention the fact that batteries are cheap and readily available almost anywhere. I don’t need a fancy pushbutton start, my key works quite well for that.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Yeah, I don’t think I want a 240 ft range as I’ll just end up turning the thing on accidentally from the other end of my house. Anybody see what happened with the Dodge Challenger on the Top Gear trip to the salt flats? I really don’t wnat anyone driving off with my car.

  • avatar
    mopartscrub

    the dodge ram battery price is a big misprint. part number 5066241ab is $3.05 msrp and does not require programming for battery replacement.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I have one of the those giant Subaru key fobs, the range is great but the fob is to damn big. I wish I could do the window function like the BMW.

    I wonder how much the recharge option is for the BMW, it has to be able 10x the cost of just replacing the battery a dozen times.

  • avatar
    skysharad

    this is a pointless comparison—not one that will influence a buying decision

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What worries me are the proximity keys that ship with—for example—the Mazda6 and Nissan Altima. I was standing beside a 6 that I had just test-driven with the key in my pocket and my son of three years in the front seat while I talked with the sales rep.

    My son managed to fire the car up by pressing the start button because I was near enough to the car with the fob in my pocket. Creeped me out, especially since he could kick the shifter into gear easily.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    The Impreza wins in the important category – cost to replace or get an additional key, with minimal battery price.

    I am soooo glad I don’t own a Chrysler product.

  • avatar

    even 15 years ago i bought a keyfob for a common japanese car and it was $50… guy came out to the car park and programmed it for free

    just two buttons (central locking and trunk lid) – the fob was just two plastic halves that snapped together and a simple circuit board and a coin battery

    Sounds a lot like the Keyfob for my LS400, only the fob was part of the key. Two plastic halves, circuit board, coin battery, attached to a metal key.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    You can’t always buy a replacement fob on Ebay. I happen to be married to a very smart, very attractive woman. In nearly 25 years of marriage, her only fault is losing a Mercedes-Benz fob at a dog park.

    The bad news is that these can only be programmed by some M-B fob guru who keeps track of VINs and key codes.

    The good news is that $135 amortized over 25 years is not that much money.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    holydonut: “The moment you drive a car with keyless go – you won’t want to go back.”That’s my take on it, too. As ‘keyless go’ becomes more and more commonplace (and less and less expensive), keyed remotes will become a thing of the past (or at least relegated to bottom-feeder cars).

  • avatar
    Power6

    I had noticed the range on my new WRX fob was much better than expected!

    The Impreza wins in the important category – cost to replace or get an additional key, with minimal battery price.

    I don’t think so…notice all of the others are “key” and the Subaru is “fob” replacement cost. It is likely if you lose one with the Subie you would probably lose the other as well. In that chart the key and programming cost(I am assuming it has a RFID chip but not sure) for the WRX is not taken into account. The Honda is probably the cheapest.

    I would have preferred keyless operation, but then I would have had to opt for the Ralliart, with the same system as the Evo MR in that chart.

    I guess it does show when a device is not crammed with fucntionality (WRX has the least bells-n-whistles there) sometimes it has lower cost and better basic performance. Jack-of-all-trades master of none…

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    CommanderFish

    The beef isn’t that they did a key FOB comparison, it’s that a BMW actually lost a Car and Driver comparo. C&D loves them some BMW, and this is a huge surprise.

    Umm, in the same issue the BMW X5 lost an upscale SUV comparo.

  • avatar
    commando1

    FOBS. Sheeesh…..

    Another reason why I let my 40 year run of my C&D subscription lapse…

  • avatar
    chuckR

    I don’t know about other cars, but G_d help you if you drain the battery on a Porsche (at least a Cayman). The fob and a couple of internal toggles actuating solenoids are the only way into the trunks.

    from Planet Porsche

    Battery – Due to the many electronics that draw on the battery it has a high probability of discharging if not driven for an extended period (or if a maintainer is not used). If the battery goes dead to gain access to the front compartment where the battery is you will need to use the procedures on page 234 of the manual “Emergency unlocking of the front luggage compartment lid” If the battery is discharged, the lid can be opened only with the aid of a donor battery or charger. Familiarizing yourself with this unusual method in advance is a good idea.

    Also from the manual – your cruise control will automatically disengage at above 140mph. Well, that’s always good to know…..

  • avatar
    Joe O

    True Story:

    About 3 weeks ago, my wife went running in a park on a 5-mile loop. She was using a new pouch that sat inside her waist-band and held her car key, driver’s license, and cell phone comfortably while running

    She stopped to use a porta-potty, forgot it was inside her pants, and dropped trough.

    The whole pounch immediately fell into the porta potty.

    My wife, with her cat-like reflexes, apparently immediately reached in and grabbed the pouch back out….but not before it was soaked through with blue porta potty fluid.

    After a ridiculously long boiling hot shower, she found her phone was dead.

    She washed her car keys with alcohol and then dumped them into hot soapy water.

    I’m pleased to report that the 2008 Subaru Legacy GT key fob, after being soaked with porta potty fluid & hot soapy water, worked on the first try :)

    The wife is still scarred.

  • avatar
    John R

    The Alterman era is upon us.

    I guess it wasn’t in time for that Gen Coupe/Camaro comparo. Meh…C&D is still the same.

  • avatar
    John Holt

    True, C&D is desperately reaching with use of gratuitous amounts of cheese, but I admit I find Alterman’s writing more engaging than Csere’s “me too” editorial stance.


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